II Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Hate Money!

I HATE the control it has over our lives. It determines where we go, what we do, what we have, where we live, who we meet, etc. Yes, I realize that ultimately it is up to us how much money we have (to some degree) like whether or not we decided to get a college degree or take that better paying job or make those investments or even if we choose to use what money we do have wisely. BUT...what about those people who are doing their best and still not getting anywhere? How many millions of people HAVE college degrees and are still without work or good paying jobs? I know a family, very closely, who despite both of them having a degree and being good, Christian people cannot for the life of them, make ends meet. It's been this way for years. Yes, they do have their better times...but right now is one of their worser times and it just drives me NUTS that they're doing all they know to do...and still they can't get ahead. They don't live extravagantly and they pass up on things all time time because they can't afford it. I'm sure I don't know EVERY detail of their lives and there is no doubt they have made some unwise financial decisions, many in fact, in their lifetime..but at what point do you stop paying for the past and start making some headway for the future?
I'm on this tantrum this morning because I discovered that we are overdrawn in our checking account today. I've only been overdrawn twice in my entire life and one of those times was when I was about 15-young and careless. The other time was a mistake by the electric company who double charged us. This time...it was purely my mistake. I failed to remember a couple of automatic payments that come out of our account at this time of the month, so when they hit last night...it put us in the red. Now, I know that is not a huge deal...people go overdraw all the time. But not me. For me, it is a HUGE deal. Sure, I will go by the bank this morning and deposit some money and get it all straightened out--but it just goes to show how preoccupied, careless and spendy I've been lately. No one likes to admit their faults, right? On top of that, I have this cloud of gloom hanging over my head. I feel like the word "overdrawn" is written on my forehead in bright red and my face is portraying this picture of extreme guilt no matter how hard I try to fake an "I'm happy" look. What really bums me out is...that I let us get this tight. When does enough (stuff) ever become enough? I mean, do I REALLY need another this or that? Do the kids REALLY need any more toys or clothes? Maybe we don't have a Wii like everyone else we know...but is buying one worth putting us in an even tighter strain? I mean, if you buy the Wii, it's an inevitable spending frenzy, isn't it? First you buy the game player...then you want an extra controller, then the Wii fit board, then more games...and it never ends.
I want OUT of this cycle. I want to be holding the reins on my life and my money--not my money dictating to me what I do/where I go/how I live.
I am seriously considering talking to Matt about making a pact between us that we don't buy one more THING or go on one more TRIP for this entire year until we are out of debt (excluding the house). I think, if we could commit to that--one year of sacrifice (if you can really call it that--we're SO blessed already!) . One year without additional luxuries-but just learning to enjoy and appreciate the ones we already have-that we could actually see the light at the end of the debt tunnel come next January.
Yes...that sounds like a plan! I think I'll schedule that meeting a.s.a.p.
oh great...guess that means anything extravagant on V-day is out. That's okay, I'll be HAPPY to NOT be seeing red anymore! (in the checking account, that is!) :o)


Kate said...

only YOU can get you out of that cycle. It takes looking at these "things" we want and saying "is this really a necessity?" I have a mini post-it note attacthed to my credit card that simply says "Emergency?" That way I'm forced to ask myself, is this really an emergency, or is it just something I want? Which usually leads to me putting the tiem back. We only use our debit card for daily purchases. And any credit card balance we have is paid off at the end of the month. We are all set to get the Wii too. But like you said, it'll just be a continuous cost after that. A cost that we don't NEED right now. A cost we didn't plan on right now. And it will probably sit there and go to waste after a few weeks of enjoying it. We've got some saving goals for ourselves right now that we're working on, and it really helps to be on the same page w/ Tony concerning money. One book I recommend - Suze Orman's Action Plan '09. And if you don't feel like buying the book . . . I'll give you the gist of it. The reason the economy is the way it is right now is quite simply GREED. Americans want it all and they want it all now. And that is a very heavy price to pay in the future. You need to do what's right by you and your home - not by what society tells us is acceptable. Society is struggling now more than ever, so clearly they are not the ones to give the best $ advice and spending lessons.

It's a huge lesson in learning to say "no".

Kuckie said...

I am SO with you on this one! We don't buy things for the kids except for their birthdays, and of course Christmas...and I am not much of a shopper. All of our money goes to projects around the house and property. I am considering having a convo with my DH about ceasing all home improvement projects for the next year just to give our accounts a break!!

Good luck Jen! We can both tighten our belts this year! :)

Slice of life said...

Hey there, you know what I really love about your blog, (when I pass through and have a read every now and then). YOU ARE SO HONEST. You say things that everyone else is thinking! that is a fantastic quality you know.

The one thing I can offer as advice is buy your self one of those really small diaries, for your pocket book/hand bag. Every time you spend some money write it in the book. food, snacks, gas every time you reach into your pocket even for 25c, write it down.

You will then be able to see if there is a pattern. then like Kate said, ask yourself, do I really need this, can I afford it, is this just a shopping lust. Look at the item, walk away, give yourself 10 minutes. all shop assistants will let you put something behind the counter, if you say you will come back. Only then when you are sure about it buy it.

This does have its problems, sometimes I resemble Whoopi Goldberg in the film Ghost, where she gives the cheque to the Nuns in the street and cant let go. Some times it is not a game any more of how much money can I save. It is more a "stop depriving yourself, you only live once".

Talking to your Husband is a fantastic thing as well. you are so clued up. I am sure he will be open to it all, together you are stronger.

Keep plugging away. I love your blog!
and the word verification is RESCU. Rescue but not quite!!!

Christy said...

I think we are a lot a like...I get careless with money too. I am working on that this year.

Amos said...

You are NOT alone. I was dealing with the very bank running issue today because of two automatic payments I forgot today too. I am reading Suze Orman's book like Kate suggested and it is awesome. The only one that cares for your money is you, and having an attitude to take control of it is the best start.

Rissalee said...

What a great post!!! You made so many good points that I agree with! And your plan sounds like one I need to adopt as well.

amanda said...

praying for you about all of it. i too HATE money, and HATE overdrawing. once i did it by one stinkin' dollar, completely my fault because i missed an automatic payment. i'll be praying for you sis. and thanks so much for being so honest!

home4mk said...

Dave Ramsey changed our life...